We have all found ourselves at this point, especially after a long day. We are tired and don’t want to think any more. We agree to whatever is easiest and keep going. When we do this, we are experiencing Decision Fatigue. This is the condition where you have exhausted your willpower by making so many decisions throughout the day, or made a few really difficult decisions, and now you are beaten down and just agree to whatever. This can really hurt us in the long run, so we have to understand how to avoid decision fatigue so that we always make the best choices. It all starts with willpower!!!
If we have had enough rest and a decent night of sleep, we will start our days with our willpower fully charged, like a battery. We can push ourselves to go to the gym, avoid the bad foods, and have the strength to say yes or no when confronted with challenges throughout the day. But as the day wears on, we become tired. Our willpower starts to drain, our battery is losing power, and we tend to make poor choices. With each decision we make through the day, our willpower drains just a bit more. And guess what…every decision counts, no matter how big or small. Trying to decide where to go to lunch today? That zaps your willpower a bit. How about, “Should I exercise today?” You got it..that is a big one and can really drain your willpower.
It is when our willpower is at it’s lowest that we make poor choices. This is where planning comes in.
In order to make the best use of our willpower, we need to do our most challenging things first thing in the morning. If you know you need to exercise every week, plan to do it first thing in the morning. If you have a major project to do or something that needs to be turned in to your boss or teacher, knock it out first thing in the morning. Sure, it will hit your willpower, but it will also help you complete what you would typically push to the next day if you didn’t do it first thing in the morning.
Brian Tracy wrote a great book titled Eat That Frog which was all about tackling your biggest challenge first thing in the morning. True, it will be a hit to your willpower, but you are more likely to have the willpower to eat that biggest frog first thing in the morning rather than in the afternoon.
Plan your major activities for the first half of your day so that you can be as productive as possible. Usually, by afternoon, our willpower can be pretty drained. In order to make your willpower last even longer, you can try my Hyper-Advanced Planning.
This type of planning is like micro-planning. This is where you plan out all the little things that you typically have to make a decision on each day. For example, you have to decide on what you are going to eat for lunch every day. Do what I do and eat the same lunches each week. For example, I have two bananas, five eggs scrambled with cheese, and a bowl of tomatoes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for lunch. On Tuesday and Thursday, I have the two bananas, a can of tunafish, and a protein bar. This is what I have for lunch for five days a week. I roll the dice on Saturday and Sunday, but I save some willpower and decrease my decision fatigue during the week by knowing each day what I am eating. I also know that my lunches are healthy for me, so I am getting some great nutrition in there too.
I also practice gratitude each day and wish one of my friends a day full of joy and happiness. But who? Who should I wish a great day today? Well, that is already planned for me. I put a list of my friends in a text file and wrote a little script to text me every morning at 5:10am. It gives me a random name to wish a great day, and that is exactly what I do. I also use this 5:10am text message to remind me what I am having for lunch today, when I should shave, and what type of meditation to practice that day. Yeah, this may be a bit much, but I said this is my Hyper-Advanced Planning. And with every decision I don’t have to make, the less I am relying on willpower to make it.
As we go through our days and make more and more decisions, our willpower is drained and we have less and less willpower to make the better choice. This can result in us eating the wrong foods, skipping the gym, or not starting a project. Our decision fatigue can result in bad choices. Why do you think stores have put all those last minute items near the cash register? That’s because they know you just shopped and had to make a bunch of decisions. And now, at the cash register, your decision fatigue is at it’s highest and you will pick up things you don’t really need. All because you are worn out and decision fatigue has taken over.
You can help avoid decision fatigue, or put it off as long as possible with some simple planning or my Hyper-Advanced Planning. You don’t necessarily have to go to extremes, but a little bit of planning is important if you wish to make good choices and help your willpower to last throughout the day.
Get plenty of rest, plan ahead, and tackle your biggest challenges in the morning. This is the best way to avoid poor choices. Good luck!!!